War of the Rebellion: Serial 027 Page 0064 Chapter XXXI. OPERATIONS IN N. VA., W. VA., MD., AND PA.

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that his troops might be with drawn and used elsewhere on the field. He replied that he would soon advance, and would go up the hill as far as a battery of the enemy on the left would permit. Upon this report I again immediately sent Colonel Key to General Burnside with orders to advance at once, if possible, to flank the battery or storm it, and carry the heights, repeating that if he considered the movement impracticable to inform me so, that his troops might be recalled. The advance was then gallantly resumed, the enemy driven from the guns, the heights handsomely carried, and a portion of the troops even reached the outskirts of Sharpsburg. By this time it was nearly dark, and strong re-enforcements just then reaching the enemy from Harper's Ferry, attacked General Burnside's troops on their left flank and forced them to retire to a lower line of hills nearer the bridge. If this important movement had been consummated two hours earlier, a position would have been secured upon the heights, from which our batteries might have enfiladed the greater part of the enemy's line, and turned their right and rear. our victory might thus have been much more decisive. The following is the substance of General Burnside's operations, as given in his report:

Colonel Crook's brigade was ordered to storm the bridge. This bridge (Numbers 3) is a stone structure of three arches with stone parapets. The banks of the stream on the opposite, side are precipitous, and command the eastern approaches to the bridge. On the hillside immediately by the bridge was a stone fence, running parallel to the stream. The turns of the roadway as it wound up the hill were covered by rifle pits and breastworks of rails, &c. These works and the woods that covered the slopes were filled with the enemy's riflemen, and batteries were in position to enfilade the bridge and its approaches.

General Rodman was ordered to cross the ford below the bridge. From Colonel Crook's position it was found impossible to carry the bridge. General Sturgis was ordered to make a detail from his division for that purpose. He sent forward the Second Maryland and the Sixth New Hampshire. These regiments made several successive attacks in the most gallant style, but were driven back. The artillery on the left were ordered to concentrate their fire on the woods above the bridge. Colonel Crook brought a section of Captain Simmonds' battery to a position to command the bridge. The Fifty-first New York and Fifty-first pennsylvania were then ordered to assault the bridge. Taking advantage of a small spur of the hills which ran parallel to the river, they moved toward the bridge. From the crest of this spur they rushed with bayonets fixed and cleared the bridge. The division followed the storming party, also the brigade of Colonel Crook, as a support. The enemy withdrew to still higher ground, some 500 or 600 yards beyond, and opened a fire of artillery on the troops in the new position on the crest of the hill above the bridge. General Rodman's division succeeded in crossing the ford after a sharp fire of musketry and artillery, and joined on the left of Sturgis, Scammon's brigade crossing as support. General Willcox's division was ordered across to take position on General Sturgis' right.

These dispositions being completed, about 3 o'clock the command moved forward, except Sturgis' division, left in reserve. Clark's and Durell's batteries accompanied Rodman's division, Cook's battery with Willcox's division, and a section of Simmonds' battery with Colonel Crook's brigade. A section of Simmonds' battery and Muhlengerg's and McMullin's batteries were in position. The order for the advance was obeyed by the troops with alacrity. General Willcox's division,